A Few Good Men? Ladies, “You CAN Handle the Truth”!

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Do you continually fall for the same type of guy? You know, that really hot guy who “had you at hello” . . .the very one who suddenly quit texting you after several romantic nights together and left you crying in your Cosmo while your loyal girlfriends rallied to  your side and assured you he was indeed a total a-hole . . . Hold on! Before you succumb to the belief that “all men are pigs” and there is not one good one left . . .relax, take a deep breath and hit the reset button. You don’t have to give up on the whole male population but you may have to readjust your radar.

Here’s the Deal . . .

Assumption: You are a healthy, single, heterosexual woman. Therefore, it is no surprise you may have fallen for a few Prince Charming’s in your life – only to find out you lost your heart to Sir Suxalot yet again! And yes, it really does suck a lot. Because you, like every other chick-flick loving female, have had an image of the perfect man embedded in your brain since you hooked-up Barbie and Ken, danced around in your princess dress and pretended you were Ariel…or Jasmine or…I think you get the point. The quest to find Mr. Right, fall in love and live happily ever after is, after all, part of your DNA. “Someday, my prince will come….”  Thank you Walt Disney!

Unfortunately, boys didn’t get the same memo. While you were all rainbows and unicorns, he was all match box cars, transformers and plastic green army men. With GI Joe in hand, he made rude sounds and shot bad guys while he rolled around in the blood and the guts and the….stuff. That is until his Spring Awakening – the very moment when his voice got lower and your chest got bigger. One sight of your newly acquired assets…with zero remorse, GI Joe and his brave men got heartlessly kicked to the curb (long after you had carefully, lovingly stored your Barbie dolls away for you future daughter). At this very same time  a new discovery of a much cooler toy, completely assembled and permanently within hand’s reach – was all the “playtime” he needed. Like you, he began to live in a fantasy world. Unlike you, his head was only filled with one image playing over and over again 24/7 pretty much for the rest of his existence. Thank you testosterone!

Here’s the 411 . . .

Despite what you have told yourself, all the “good ones” are NOT taken. There are plenty of awesome guys out there who are both manly and sensitive to a woman’s needs, handsome but yet naively humble, gracious but intuitively strong, funny yet possessing depth, etc.  The problem is you may not readily see them because your “good guy radar” is short circuited by what you think is your ideal type – which turns out may not be so ideal. Thank you Hollywood!

So how do you go about changing your Sir Suxalot attraction? Firstly, you must identify what it is that you repeatedly and of course, naturally go for? Obviously for both sexes, initial physical chemistry plays a huge role in what attracts us to one another. Which makes infatuation such a powerful force, it can easily overpower our critical thinking and even our gut instincts when choosing to go deeper into a relationship. Somewhere between the electric charge that sweeps you off your feet and the unhappy ending are all the huge flashing, warning signs. The good news is losers will always show their true colors no matter how charming they seem in the beginning. Here are just a few signs you are heading for another train wreck:  if he starts to make you feel like your feelings don’t matter, if he controls every decision about date nights,  if he over exaggerates his accomplishments, if he is selfish with his time, if he doesn’t introduce you to his best friends, if he always walks a few steps ahead of you, etc. – you are at best falling for another jerk or even worse, a narcissist. For more signs and warnings check out his article: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-relationships/dating-a-narcissist

In a Nutshell. . .

So let’s recap. Being a woman you are pre-wired for romance and the “feeling” of falling in love which makes you particularly susceptible to the kind of guy who seeks to manipulate your DNA for his own selfish needs. Nice guys have the same sexual wiring as the jerk dude – they are just more evolved and therefore more in touch with both their own emotional needs as well as yours.

However, according to Eric Marc Katz, dating coach and author of the highly popular Blog – Evan Marc Katz | Understand Men. Find Love., there are a few things you MUST understand about men before you can have the successful relationship you are seeking. Here’s a quote from one of his recent posts.

“Men live in the moment. We look for sex and find love. Just because we think you’re attractive and we show you a good time doesn’t mean we’re actually INTERESTED. Essentially, men fall for you during the process of pursuing sex with you. Which means that if you have sex before you get into a relationship with him, you’re taking a predictably high risk that things aren’t going to work out.”

Okay, let’s assume Eric speaks for all men – even the “good guy” you are hoping to find. According to Katz, from the guy’s perspective, it’s giving up the keys to your “magic kingdom” too soon that could possibly derail the love monorail before it is even out of the station. Which makes a lot of sense because in their basest reptilian brain, sex is the goal. So, if they don’t have to spend any time to get to know you to achieve that goal, they will indeed take what you are offering and move on to the next more intriguing conquest. However, as long as you keep him at arm’s distance, so to speak, he will continue to be intrigued.

Good news! This delay of game, places the ball squarely in your court! But, before you serve up your next volley – it is imperative that you ask yourself this question: What are your non-negotiables? . . .as in “must love kids”, “must have a great sense of humor”, “must be college educated . . .etc.” Once you have fully examined your heart and mind and feel confident that you know your “must haves”, proceed with eyes wide open (with the understanding that settling for less will most likely lead to future disappointment).  Only when and if he passes your non-negotiables challenge should you allow him to move on to the next round of the ever crucial “ideal mate” vetting process – which includes passing the girlfriend test, your guy friend’s test, the pet test, the baby test, etc.

So, there you have it! The truth about the ideal “Man of Your Dreams” and the actual real man who will finally possess your heart, ultimately comes down to the potent combination of 1) gaining a deep understanding of the male species and  2) truly knowing yourself and what qualities you are seeking in a man.  Just like thunder naturally follows a lightning strike – rest assured your “good guy radar” will fully kick in once you have learned to value yourself and treasure your most sought after prized possession more than you do the instant gratification of wielding its mystical power over another unevolved man.

Now that you are aware of the mating habits of the Neanderthal and can easily spot him in  his natural habitat – the unequivocal potency of your strength and confidence will act as a strong repellent to his type. Simultaneously, the fog will lift and the good guys will come into view. You will know him – he’s the guy you didn’t see immediately, but he saw you and waited for the perfect moment to approach. He’s the guy who is intrigued by your smile, your laugh, the way you hold your glass . . .he is the guy who is willing to wait for all the rest in order to discover your intellect, your heart, your inner beauty, while being completely intoxicated by your outer beauty. He is the one your dog, your mom, your girlfriends, your friend’s baby and everyone else who has your back will naturally love – for one reason – he will value the same qualities about you as they do!

CHERISH is the WORD . . .

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In the arena of love and marriage, one of the major contributors to discord is the inability to communicate in a calm, rational, non-accusatory fashion. For most couples, it takes several years of navigating the choppy seas of difference of personalities, viewpoints, priorities and lifestyles, before it’s all smooth sailing. Sadly, some folks never reach that island of harmony where rational minds prevail and love is watered daily…instead they wake up to find their relationship…shipwrecked.

If one could take the opportunity to dissect the anatomy of an argument, it might be quite surprising to see how often it has nothing to do with “what” you say, but rather “how” you say it that sets off the smoke alarm.

Tone and inflection (whether intended or not) can unfortunately transform a mundane question such as, “did you remember to unload the dishwasher?” into an explosive emotional grenade setting off a full-blown argument. I’m sure it was these type of seemingly stupid little “dropped bombs” that was the inspiration for Pat Benatar’s big hit, “Love Is A Battlefield”.7647176[1]

There are so many ways we can inflect our voice. Think about it. We can say pretty much anything  in a way that implies that the other person is stupid or inept, simply by making a punctuated exhalation sound…showing we are annoyed or exasperated. Combine that with “the rolling of the eyes” and you have a problem in the making.  The dishwasher comment can be delivered in a way that is accusatory…as in, “OMG did you seriously forget to put the frigging dishes up again?” The problem is, when daily interaction is habitually filled with negative tones and accusatory voice inflections, it can take a very damaging toll on any relationship.

It is so easy to recognize these kind of demeaning tones and negative interactions when observing our children. As parents, we are so quick to jump in and correct…”Michael..don’t talk to your sister that way…that is totally unacceptable! Now, say you’re sorry…etc.” But for some strange reason, we adults are much slower to recognize it in ourselves or to point it out in our spouses before the damage is done and a relatively minor exchange becomes an emotionally charged duel of words.

In contrast, there is a way that “love” speaks. Like anything, it requires commitment and practice to become natural at it. But with both, couples can learn to cut off their negative tones and learn to speak to each other in a loving and respectful manner. No matter what the actual “words” are, if we are conscientious about how we are speaking them, our interaction can take place on a much higher level. Even, a simple word like “sweetie” can be inserted in front of a phrase and the listener can receive it in a much more positive way. For example, “sweetie, I was wondering if you had208315_2014038227442_4762824_n[1] the chance to unload the dishwasher yet….”

In order to have a thriving, robust relationship – with awareness and practice, we can choose on a daily basis to break the bad habit of speaking with demeaning, negative and disrespectful tones. It is just one more key to a successful love-filled life together!

 

In Search of Happiness

   imagesCA4WYXBXApparently in this world, there is a treasure sought after by man that is more precious and desirable than gold but as elusive and unattainable as the Holy Grail. I’m speaking of “happiness”. Just take a stroll down the self-help aisle at Barnes and Noble and you will be blown away with the seemingly endless plethora of “How To” books on the subject. To underscore my point, I just typed in the words “finding happiness” in the search bar in the book section of Amazon.com., which resulted in 5,140 results – amazing, right?

Here are just a few of the titles: 21 Ways to Finding Peace and Happiness, The Happiness Solution, How to Be Happy, When Am I Going to Be Happy…and so on, just make up a title and I’m sure you can find it on a book shelf.

So what is going on? Has this been part of the human condition since the beginning of our existence? Has “happiness” always been a pipe dream? Am I happy? And what does that really mean to me anyway…hmmm.imagesCA02VTN3

Upon deeper reflection, I believe that happiness isn’t so much a state of being as it is an emotional reaction to my surroundings. In other words, when I hold a newborn baby, see a hummingbird land on my feeder or experience any number of life’s simple joys, I get a feeling or sensation that I have come to equate with “happiness”. However, I can walk in the house and turn on the news and hear about a mass shooting and quickly be overcome with emotions of sadness. So, in my experience, happiness is more of a fleeting emotion that comes and goes throughout thappiness-quote[1]he day and is in direct correlation to external stimuli.

People often ask me, “are you always this happy”? And of course, the answer is “no”. I have emotional ups and downs just like everyone else.  So what are they really asking? I think maybe what they are observing is that I am generally “content”. Now, contentment to me is a state of being that is with me whether I am sorrowful over a loss of a loved one, or rejoicing with a newly married couple. In my experience, contentment is static and is not related to my emotional ups and downs. So have I learned to be content or am I just wired that way? I suppose upon further analysis, the answer would be a little bit of both.

What do you think? How do you define yourself when it comes to “happiness” or “contentment”?images[2]

I’m excited to read your comments. Click on the “Leave A Comment” icon below to join the discussion!

Desperately Seeking a Needle of Wisdom in the Political Haystack

I’m not so much intrigued by politics as I am about human nature and how each of us responds to political stimuli. It has been such an interesting, polarizing time unlike any I d72b94edf2301342a11b3361032ddcff1can remember in my adult voting life. At the onset, I used every opportunity to seek to understand both sides of most of the major issues – read the RNC platform, watched all of the main speakers at the convention,  read the DNC platform and listened to their speakers (probably a result of having a conservative Republican father and a liberal Democrat mother). I did this to “know myself”, find out what I really think, to discover what each party really stands for in their core issues and then find out what aligns with my values. Like many Americans, hubby and I watched the debates. Almost daily, we had discusswatching-news-online-300x1801ions with friends with differing opinions, we also gave equal time to FOX, CNN, CNBC and Bloomberg news as well as the Sunday morning political fare offered by those same networks.

Here are just a few things I observed and learned:

1. OBJECTIVITY is on the “endangered thinking” list and is as rare as finding a journalist who doesn’t interrupt and continually talk over someone who doesn’t agree with him or her.
2. FACTS stand no chance against our deeply entrenched filters which are based on emotional responses and run as deep as our flight or fight reflexes.
3. LISTENING with the intent to truly understand rather than to formulate our reply is a virtue all of us need to aspire to and improve upon.
4. TRIBALISM or group think/blind allegiance to one’s team can become a cancer on our society which feeds off of our individual egos and creates a safe haven for an “us and them” mentality, feelings of superiority, disdain for differing opinions and hypocrisy at its most disgusting, distasteful display.
5. HATE is not owned by any particular group, party, religion or race and the justification for vileness can be skewed to fit anyone’s particular ideology and rebranded as “justified retaliation” or “righteous indignation”.
6. LABELING one another, in my opinion, is intellectually lazy and socially irresponsible. But, apparently it is so much more “comfortable” to place others in perfectly constructed labeled boxes than it is to truly seek to understand, which of course, would force us to step outside of our own very comfy box.
7. POSITIVITY and hope are still available to us all no matter how dire a picture is being presented to us or is our actual perception – as always, we as individuals have to choose how we see the world, how we choose to interact with others and how we choose to LIVE our own lives.

So, I’ve decided based on these observations, from this day forward if I’m going to make a difference in the world, I must “be the change I want to see” in the world. Therefore, I am going to work hard on these things in my own life each and every day from this day forward and HOPE that my actions will serve to inspire others to learn, grow, expand, evolve, and ultimately LOVE!

 

The Joy Of “Spooning” . . .

And How It Gets All “Forked” Up!

We had dinner, went to a concert and then walked through the park holding hands. Later that night we had our first romantic moment. I still remember that first kiss as if it happened yesterday. It was so sweet, soft and perfect. But that is not the moment that really sealed the deal for me. It came a couple of weeks after our first date.

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It was a very cool Fall morning, I remember I could see my breath when I walked to class. I couldn’t wait for lunch to come because the two of us had plans to meet at our favorite campus corner eatery. We ate our salads, held hands and made eyes at each other across the table. Then we both yawned. My classes were finished for the day, so I sleepily announced that I was going to go home and take a nap.  Hoping for a make out session, of course, Kev eagerly followed me home to “nap” with me. And then it happened. Fully dressed, not even under the covers…we snuggled for the first time. He wedged his warm body next to mine in the perfect spoon position. But, it is the crazy thing he did next that we still talk about to this day. He began to rock his foot back and forth . . .gently rocking me to sleep. I lifted my head up off the pillow and looked up at him in total amazement. “What? he said, in his confused “almost asleep” voice. I then joyfully proclaimed that I couldn’t believe he was rocking his foot because that is how I fell asleep every night. He was elated and very happy with himself. That was it! We were spooners…forever addicted to the sweet “ahhhhhhh” of spooning…or at least that’s what I had planned.

Mastering The Spoon

Over the next couple of decades, we took joy in attempting to master the art of spooning. Before children, we indulged in the “naked spoon”, a beautiful side by side, skin-to-skin human sculpture that required carefulspooning[1] placement of limbs, elbows and knees – with special  attention paid to those “sensitive” protruding body parts. Ah, the sweet agility of youth which made the nightly wedge so easy to achieve! In our twenties and thirties, our biggest decision before we fell asleep, was “who gets to spoon who” first.  And as all young adults do, we took it for granted that our nightly “snuggle-fests” would always be the way we would fall asleep . . .wrapped up in each other’s arms from lights out to sun up.

Age Happens

Fast forward thirty something years and here we are. The kids are grown up and live in different cities. We could run around naked 24/7 and no one would care now. But, somehow that just doesn’t seem as “cool” as it did when we both 21. The point is…we can if we want to! We still relish every night when we get to get in bed and snuggle…but our beloved “spoon” configuration has gotten a little contorted over the past few years. In fact, it has gotten totally “forked up”. Something happened between my 40th birthday and my 50th. My knees became extremely bony . . .as if they have zero padding covering the joint.

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So…that’s when pillow #1 joined our spoonageplaced perfectly – half between my knees and half between his. Not a big deal . . .his chest still close to my back and legs and feet carefully intertwined. Then my beloved was lifting weights and did something funky to his shoulder. Not cool! Now, introducing pillow # 2, a carefully placed flat selection that props his arm into just the right angle to keep his rotator cuff from screaming in pain. In the meantime, I had to purchase a therapeutic neck pillow to take care of my two pinched nerves in my neck. Trust me – there are no “sexy” neck support pillows on the market! They are thick, bulky and heavy, but a “must have” when you are suffering with cervical pain. So, the million dollar pillow under my head is so big, it makes it impossible to share our knee pillow. And now the man’s (once extremely athletically gifted and overused) knees are constantly a source of crunching noises and pain requiring a special pillow of their own. Of course we get crazy adventurous every now and then, and attempt once again to fall asleep in spooning position – our best attempt has been clocked at lasting (at max) five minutes before we recoil in pain and laughter, while simultaneously cursing (damn it my friggin shoulder) the perils of aging.

So there you have it . . .our once sleek, toned, beautifully unwrinkled “spoonable” bodies have reached the point of requiring 5 pillows between us to get a good night’s sleep. So what touches now? Our feet and toes are all that are left to freely find each other . . .think “fork” and you get the picture!

Consolation? Many nights we fall asleep holding hands, which is somewhat ironic. . .since that is the way this whole thing got started.

Sweet Dreams My Friends! ! And Happy Spooning!!!

INSOMNIA, 9/11 and LOVE

The older I get, the alison sleepmore I struggle with insomnia. The more I struggle with insomnia, the more questions I have about everything. . .the universe, my place in it, God. . .the typical unknowns that no one has all the answers to.

In my most recent battle with the shut-eye, the minute my eyes opened I was roused with this well-known inspirational verse bouncing around in my brain. “And these three remain, faith, hope and love . . .and the greatest of these is love”. Really brain? Ok, I’m game..let’s do this. So I’m pretty sure I’ve got a significant grip on what “faith” is. Spiritually speaking, faith is belief in things not seen which are based on an inner revelation rather than physical proof. “Hope” seems pretty straight forward. . .to wait expectantly for a certain outcome. Then comes the big one, the one that remains, outlasts hope and faith . . .the one thing most of us desire to have in our lives more than wealth, wisdom or fame . . .”LOVE”.

It is difficult for me to slap a one liner definition on the end of love. What is love? I know how I “feel” inside when I love someone. I know how I feel when someone loves me. I also find it rather easy to point out what love isn’t. If love is one thing, I’m sure that it could be defined as “selfless”. When we truly love someone and they are needy or hurting, we give of ourselves without any consideration for our own needs or wants. In my opinion, love is always an action verb, otherwise it is just another word in a poem that rhymes with ‘above’.

After pondering that love is the greatest thing we could aspire to, my thoughts went to another verse that expounds even further on the importance of love. “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Wow! Now that is some serious sacrifice. I could give everything I own away to the homeless man on the corner, but if I don’t have love, I have ZIP. Even more seriously, I could be burned as a martyr for my own beliefs . . .but if I go up in flames while hating my neighbor, I’ve missed the boat and my sacrifice is meaningless. That is heavy.

And then the epiphany . . .

I immediately began to think about the biggest modern-day example of such a martyrdom. On 9/11, nineteen hijackers boarded U.S. airplanes. Each hijacker had tremendous faith in Allah, the one they call the one true God, the one they prayed to every day since they had been taught to recite the Koran. Even with such great faith, no doubt, their faith was equally matched and perhaps surpassed by their hope for great reward in the after life. The verse sprang to life for me. This is a picture on a very grand scale. Easy to recognize because of the enormity of the crime and the obvious evil associated with the deed. Faith? Yes. Hope? Definitely, yes. Love? Their hearts were so blinded by hatred for you and me, and every other American, including their Muslim brothers and sisters who were working in the towers that day, that they gave up EVERYTHING …for NOTHING!

So, what is there for me to learn from this middle of the night interruption to my much-needed beauty sleep? If I have a lot of faith and hope…who benefits? It seems that both of these are more for the edifying of one’s self. If my friend is depressed and really needs me to spend time with her, the fact that I have hope and faith are not really helpful to her in that instance. She needs action . . .she needs my love, displayed by showing up, hanging out and listening and holding her hand.

I also realize that when someone tells me how awesome the sermon was last Sunday but in the very next breath tells me how they absolutely hate the President of the United States or how they can’156431_4055687387395_648010028_n[1]t stand their sister and never talk to her anymore…etc., I immediately feel a disconnect. It seems so inconsistent to me, therefore I have a hard time respecting anything else they have to say. Once again, I grapple with this question. If faith and hope are not completely enveloped in love, then what purpose do they serve? Apparently, a whole lot of nada.

After tossing and turning for over an hour, my mind was finally able to rest with a fresh respect for the beauty in the truth of  “. . .and the greatest of these is LOVE.”

“Growing” Against the Grain

obama%20romney%20debate%202%20btPerhaps there is no better environment than that of a presidential election year to spark debate, highlight diversity of opinion and emphasize how people can watch and listen to the same conversation and walk away with completely different takes. After watching the second debate, followed by flipping back and forth between CNN and FOX news, perusing the sometimes anger-filled posts on Facebook, eavesdropping on people’s conversations in restaurants and having many conversations of my own, a huge question arose during “morning coffee talk time” with my husband (one of our favorite new soul-exploration rituals).

Question ? ?

So, why is it that we humans often have a riimagesCANME831se in blood pressure, turn red in the face and have our emotional state get so riled – even to the point of anger – over someone else simply having a different opinion than ours? What is that? I asked this because I realized over the last year, I had observed this type of reaction over and over again around me, while at the same time, I became surprisingly aware that there was a quiet calm inside of me..a non-reaction, if you will, that I really didn’t understand. In the past, I could feel my temperature rise and my “blood boil” so to speak, when just listening to a Sunday morning panel on CNN. But suddenly for the first time in my 53 years on the planet, I felt like, in certain moments of awareness, I could discuss any topic with anyone without feeling threatened, anxious or defiant. Weird, but incredibly freeing. (By the way, let me be clear, I am only referring to situations where different opinions are being expressed – not when someone is being completely disrespectful, rude or degrading…obviously there are times when measured reactions are warranted.) How did that happen? Kev pointed out that for quite some time we had actually been watching certain news shows for the sole (and soul) purpose of making ourselves uncomfortable. If Michael Moore or Donald Trump, or anyone who saw things way differently than we do,  was on a rant on CNN and my finger was itching to quickly change the channel…we both would say, “NO”…let’s do this! So, we purposely chose to go against our grain…over and over again.

This was a HUGE change from our habits of only a couple of years ago, when we listened only to those talking heads who mainly agreed with our ideology and underscored our way of thinking. Kev said it was like taking sandpaper to the soul…But, even though we had both been exercising ourselves in this manner, we still did not have a good answer for this question. WHY? Why do some people literally hate every word that comes out of Obama’s mouth and the same held true when Bush was in office. I did not understand it then and I don’t now. So again, I ask .. .

 Why is it so difficult to find balanced opinions and insightful, enlightened observations…but very easy to observe venomous, emotionally charged visceral reactions in the political and religious arena? These type of intellectual shouting matches daily bombard newscasts and radio talk shows – complete with name calling and demeaning “you’re such a moron” implications. So why so much bombastic bloviating versus gracious listening seasoned with rational, educated responses?

As I stated in my last blog post “Reflections and Revelations”, the pursuit of intellectual honesty has led me to a place of self-discovery which has resulted in new found freedom and a deeper sense of peace. Which is what I attributed to this welcomed state of not getting riled when others disagreed with me or vice versa. But there is something more…much deeper and more profound.

I posed the same question I have asked here, to an entire class full of women last week. After the class, one of my students told me I needed to read “A New Earth” Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle.  I immediately went out and bought it. Like reading “The Road Less Traveled” for the first time, every word and paragraph jumps off the page and solidifies what I have been experiencing in the last few years. Within just a few chapters, Tolle addresses the very issue in detail that I had been asking myself, my spouse and my friends. Let me share with you . . .

“There is nothing that strengthens the ego more than being right. Being right is identification with a mental position-a perspective, an opinion a judgment, a story. For you to be right, of course, you need someone else to be wrong, and so the ego loves to make wrong in order to be right. In other words: You need to make others wrong in order to get a stronger sense of who you are. Being right places you in a position of imagined moral superiority in relation to the person who is being judged or found wanting.”

Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere.

“Every ego confuses opinions and viewpoints with fact. Every ego is a master of selective perception and distorted interpretation. Only through awareness-not through thinking-can you differentiate between fact and opinion.” Beyond the realm of simple and verifiable facts, the certainty that “I am right and you are wrong” is a dangerous thing in personal relationships as well as in interactions between nations, tribes, religions and so on.

 …once you identify the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind . . .you no longer misperceive it as somebody’s identity. Once you see the ego for what it is, it becomes much easier to remain nonreactive toward it. You don’t take it personally anymore. There is no complaining, blaming, accusing, or making wrong. . .compassion arises when you recognize that all are suffering from the same sickness of the mind, some more acutely than others. You do not fuel the drama anymore that is a part of all egoic relationships. What is its fuel? REACTIVITY! The ego thrives on it.

And WOW… discovery and enlightenment, and a few more layers of the onion are peeled back. All of this makes so much sense to me. Little by little, situation by situation, unknowingly it seems I have slowly been separating “who I am” from “what I think”. Therefore, when I am in that state of clarity, I am not threatened by your opinions – in fact, I love to hear them, especially if they are different from mine because it is just another opportunity for me to expand myself. It is an exercise I must do if I am going to truly serve and love those I am so connected with. If I truly care about you, and want to love you, I must find a way to enter in to where you are . . .ego plays no part in this type of interaction. It wasn’t very long ago I would have labeled myself a certain way (politically and religious beliefs) – which upon definition may close me off from spiritual connection with those who view the world differently. Today? The only label I can come up with is explorationist. Which apparently is a new word . . .how fitting!